One reason I wanted to be a college professor was the annual schedule: the only professional job I can think of where you can have time each summer to homestead. Of course, I'm supposed to be doing research and public service activities during this time, and I do (really -- promise I do!). But I enjoy the long days in the garden or working on household and other projects. This summer was my first real summer off in four. The previous three were contaminated by work, two by full time work as Interim Provost of Unity College, the third by a late start while the permanent provost came on board, and then by the need to keep checking back in to uncover files, help solve problems, provide information for the transition. That was last summer, and we still managed to build the barn between July 1 when my interim contract ended, and the end of August when school started up. This summer we've completed any number of smaller scale but equally important projects: the new septic, the porch, the bathroom, the herb garden, etc, etc.
All good things must come to an end. Said Frost,
Why should I let the toad work
Squat on my life?
Can't I use my wit as a pitchfork
And drive the brute off?
Six days of the week it soils
With its sickening poison -
Just for paying a few bills!
That's out of proportion.
Lots of folk live on their wits:
Losers, loblolly-men, louts-
They don't end as paupers;
Lots of folk live up lanes
With fires in a bucket,
Eat windfalls and tinned sardines-
They seem to like it.
Their nippers have got bare feet,
Their unspeakable wives
Are skinny as whippets - and yet
No one actually starves.
Ah, were I courageous enough
To shout, Stuff your pension!
But I know, all too well, that's the stuff
That dreams are made on:
For something sufficiently toad-like
Squats in me, too;
Its hunkers are heavy as hard luck,
And cold as snow,
And will never allow me to blarney
My way of getting
The fame and the girl and the money
All at one sitting.
I don't say, one bodies the other
One's spiritual truth;
But I do say it's hard to lose either,
When you have both.